Trump's War: His Battle for America
|God, guns, and freedom|
|Starting arguments over Thanksgiving dinner|
|Persons of interest|
Trump's War: His Battle for America is a book written in 2017 by right wing radio host Michael Savage, a sequel to Scorched Earth: Restoring the Country After Obama. Despite the usual vitriol, out-there claims, and extraneous self-promotion along with numerous citations of Clogosphere sources typical of Savage's books in the past decade, the book actually has some good ideas, especially in Chapter 7 with criticism of the military-industrial complex, as well as conceding that Trump himself has some flaws.
Chapter 1: Trump's War Against the Enemies Within
Savage alleges that liberal protests against the election of Trump and accompanying violent acts were carried out by a "George Soros-funded network of brownshirts." This is a highly editorialized statement not supported by any of the three citations. The end notes cite three sources:
- Terry Ward, "Dozens of police guarded the entrance of Trump Tower as hundreds of protesters blocked street traffic and shouted anti-Trump slogans." WHSV: November 9, 2016.
- Kimberly Veklerov, "Photojournalist attacked while covering Trump protest in Oakland." San Francisco Chronicle: November 10, 2016.
- Amber Randall, "Black Guys Assault White Man While Shouting Anti-Trump Slogans [VIDEO]." Daily Caller: November 10, 2016.
The third source alleges without evidence that the attackers were Hillary Clinton supporters, and the victim himself says politics did not play a role in the assault. Rather, his statements and police reports imply the fight started because of a "traffic accident resulting in property damage."
Calling the news media the News Klux Klan (NKK) and citing a Zero Hedge article, Savage says: "NKK conspirator USA Today tried to discredit claims the protests were organized professionally, but WikiLeaks showed it were[ ] lying." However, this is a strawman: The Zero Hedge article linked to a USA Today article "Trump protesters' resounding message: No national mandate" from November 12, 2016 that acknowledges organizations like MoveOn.org organized protests. On the same day, USA Today also published a story, "Allegations of fake protests spread as anti-Trump fervor grows," that undisputedly exposes how someone on Twitter spread false rumors that paid protesters were bused to Austin, Texas. The tweet with the false claim got so many (thousands of!) retweets that the tweet author admitted to being wrong; his retraction got only eight retweets.
Chapter 2: Trump's Economic War
Responding to Paul Krugman criticizing Trump's proposal to have new infrastructure highly-funded by private investment, Savage fails to make an effective counter-argument but instead calls Krugman an "academic crank… [who] won a Nobel Prize in economics from the same people who gave Obama a peace prize" and misrepresents Krugman's criticism as calling the Trump plan "another scam because the government isn't doing the spending." First, the two awards are nominated from two different organizations in two different countries: the Norwegian Nobel Committee awards the Peace Prize, while the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awards the Prize in Economics. Second, Krugman brings up an important question not addressed by Savage: "... what reason do we have to believe that this scheme will generate new investment, as opposed to repackaging things that would have happened anyway?" Yet Savage acknowledges, citing the case of St. George, Alaska: "Privatization certainly can have a downside in some situations."
Chapter 3: Trump's War to Repeal Obamacare
Making sure to bring up his Ph.D. in nutritional ethnomedicine, Savage criticizes the Food & Drug Administration for "waging a war against natural supplements and remedies." Savage even suggests "natural remedies... are an alternative to drugs... [that aren't] working or [whose] side effects are too adverse," just like how people can choose other forms of entertainment like movies or the stage instead of TV. No wonder Trump's PR people are into alternative facts.
He also supports allowing people to buy health insurance across state lines because it'll allow companies to "compete in a freer market," but there is little evidence interstate insurance sales decrease prices.
Based on the increased life expectancy from the time Medicare was founded in the mid 1960s to today and the decrease in the number of workers paying into the system per each beneficiary, Savage advocates raising its eligibility age to 70. Yet a study by Health Affairs brings up the downside of an eligibility age raise: "... delaying Medicare eligibility could raise employers’ cost of providing coverage to retirees who do not yet qualify for Medicare. If some employers respond by dropping coverage, uninsurance rates for the young elderly could be even higher."
Chapter 4: Trump's War for Our Borders
This chapter is especially full of the usual fearmongering and characterization of immigrants as an invading force, even as far as saying "World War III is being waged by undocumented, unvetted immigrants." Aside from calling German chancellor Angela Merkel a "reverse Hitler" (wait, wouldn't that wouldn't that be a good thing?), Savage gets the facts flagrantly wrong about the December 2016 Berlin attack, by claiming that the attacker Anis Amri was released from police custody because his DNA was not in the truck. However, the cited NBC News article does not name Amri, a Tunisian immigrant. Rather, it names the released suspect as a Pakistani identified only as Naved B., whom media identified as being wrongly arrested. In contrast, Amri was never arrested after the attack but rather escaped to Italy and was shot dead there upon encountering police. How did this blatant falsehood get past a competent editing staff for a major publisher?
Although acknowledging Amri was not religious, Savage again tries to have it both ways just like in Scorched Earth: "Radical Islam is a violent political movement masquerading as a religion. And until the needed reformation that even moderate Muslims are calling for takes place, radical Islam is Islam."
Savage tries to defend Trump's promise to build a border wall paid for by Mexico by saying that NAFTA negotiations and decreasing the exports from Mexico to the US would be the way to pay. Thus, Trump did not break his campaign promise to "build a wall and make Mexico pay for it" when he requested congressional appropriations for the wall. Savage may not have a problem with the way the border wall is paid for, but would he defend a statement like Obama saying "if you like your plan, you can keep it" regarding Obamacare?
Watch out for another logical inconsistency: Savage goes from criticizing Merkel's immigration policy as being supported "with one's heart instead of one's head," to making an emotional appeal himself in citing "the heartfelt testimony of a mother whose twenty-one-year-old daughter was killed by an illegal alien driving drunk on a Nebraska road." And a PIDOOMA: "Fatalities caused by drunk-driving illegal aliens were a routine occurrence in Obama's Third World America."
Savage also blames Obama's policies that accommodate Latin American and other refugees as causing outbreaks of EV-D68, foot-and-mouth, and Chagas diseases, which he says were "all foreign to thsi country or previously eradicated." However, the first case of EV-D68 in the U.S. was in 1987, and its source enterovirus was first detected in 1962. Furthermore, Mexico (96 percent), Honduras (88 percent), El Salvador (90 percent), and Guatemala (86 percent) all have child immunization rates comparable to the U.S. (92 percent). Furthermore, actual medical experts doubt that undocumented immigrants are bringing diseases at an alarming rate.
Sarcastically, Savage suggests that organizations that advocate sanctuary city policies should be considered "hate groups" as defined by the Southern Poverty Law Center, because "states' rights was an argument only mae by racist right-wingers who wanted to bring back slavery."
Chapter 5: Trump's Culture Wars
In something that you have probably seen on r/ForwardsFromGrandma or MyRightWingDad, Savage writes:
Until the 1960s, America was a socially conservative nation based on Judeo-Christian morality, the Protestant work ethic, and love of country. Businessman (sic) used to be called "captains of industry" and were revered for their achievements. Working people found long hours and frugality rewarding, knowing that even if they never became millionaires themselves, they were building a better future for their children.
As late as the 1950s, Americans overwhelmingly loved their country. They revered the founding fathers as pioneers of the ideas that had built the bountiful society they enjoyed. They sought to emulate wealthy businessmen, rather than excoriate them as "exploiters" of victim workers.
They dutifully attended religious services and tanked God for the blessing they had received. They worked hard and complained little. Complaining about one's circumstances used to be considered a sign of personal weakness. People used to talk about how they were going to improve their own condition, not what somebody else owed them.
Keep in mind that Savage wrote this right after condemning "wealthy businessmen" and "captains of industry" for various reasons, including messing up the tax code and suppressing wages, in Chapter Three! So it seems that Savage would rather people kiss up and not question what they've been taught or the circumstances they're in.
Savage recalls reading Plato's Republic when he was in high school and snarkily says: ".. liberal faculty couldn't fit him in between 'Gender Pronouns 101' and 'Introduction to White Privilege.' We've gone from Plato's Republic to 'Donny Has Two Daddies' in just a few short years." Yes, I'm sure high schools across the country are assigning Heather Has Two Mommies as required reading.
After complaining about how movies "depict white businessmen as evil" and romantic comedies have every male character "abandoning his former worldview and adopting that of his staunchly leftist female lead," Savage blames "these anti-American themes" for playing "a role in Trump's victory" because: "You can only throw so much filth and derision at decent people before they've had enough." Say what you will about today's movies, but come on. Voting Trump because you don't like today's movies is basically an emotional impulse move that does little to solve the problem. In other words, it's virtue signalling.
On public education, Trump expresses measured optimism that new Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos will oppose Common Core, given that DeVos has been on the board of the Foundation for Excellence in Education, an organization that supported it, in the past. Savage also suggests that Common Core will crowd out civics classes, because if children knew how the federal government system worked, they'd realize "it doesn't allow 99 percent of what they're trying to do." That hyper partisan statement aside, while Common Core does require the study of the Constitution, Declaration of Independence, and Lincoln's second inaugural address among others, Common Core is said to require "no interrogation or application of the democratic values inherent in the documents."
In a form of just asking questions: Trump writes,
What if children started hearing that the founding fathers weren't just racist slave masters who oppressed women and slaughtered Native Americans? What if they started learning that the great nineteenth-century captains of industry were really brilliant innovators, rather than robber barons?
Answer: Let's not teach children to be mindless followers of authority and worshipers of icons. People and societies are complicated, flawed bodies that capable of fallacies. Also, school textbooks have been doing quite a good job at erasing the darker aspects of the founding fathers and even manufacturing jingoistic mythology, as the book Lies My Teacher Told Me by James Loewen shows.
As has been his routine for years, Savage calls liberalism a mental disorder because he disliked the way an Ohio State University professor reacted to the November 2016 vehicle and stabbing attack. He takes William Clark out of context by asserting he said he wanted to understand "why he took the course of action that he chose," without quoting Clark's earlier statement: "Until we really know all the facts. I'd prefer to hold judgment."
Chapter 6: Trump's War to Restore the Military
Savage tries to paint Major General Michael Carey and Vice Admiral Tim Giardina as victims of an Obama political purge, even going as far as to suggest Giardina was fired based on a "charge never vetted in a court" of "playing poker with counterfeit hundred-dollar chips." Savage omits that Giardina not only played poker with counterfeit chips but was found guilty of lying about it. Furthermore, both parties chose not to pursue a court martial.
Savage also suggests that transgender members of the US military are having their surgery needs placed ahead of others. However, a RAND Corporation study published in 2016 says: "Estimates derived from survey data and private health insurance claims data indicate that, each year, between 29 and 129 service members in the active component will seek transition-related care that could disrupt their ability to deploy."
Responding to Obama's Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter lifting restrictions on women serving in the military, Savage justifies the past restrictions based on physical descriptions, "to any snowflakes who may have picked up this book by accident." Although Savage suggests the Defense Department lowered standards to accommodate more women, in reality nearly 85% of women still didn't pass the Marines' revised physical test despite its intents to be more inclusive. Besides, isn't this the "equal opportunity, not equal outcome" conservatives are always asking for?
Chapter 7: Trump's War Against the War Machine
Trump engages in quite a bit of Russia and Vladimir Putin apologia, praising Russian policies of requiring some sort of religious studies in its public schools and Putin as "a conservative who has resurrected Russia's culture from the dustbin of history." He also accuses Obama for wanting to go to war with Russia. Additionally, Savage manages to lionize Bashar al-Assad of Syria while handwaving away his horrible human rights record.
Chapter 8: Trump's War Against the RINOs
This chapter is devoted to criticizing many establishment Republicans as "RINOs" who are little different than liberal Democrats. Savage defends white supremacist Steve Bannon against media reports that he is a white supremacist. Too bad: Under Bannon's leadership, Breitbart.com published some of the most bigoted clickbait known to the Internet.
Chapter 9: Trump's War to Restore Real Science
In this chapter, Savage repeatedly calls global warming a "hoax" and calls on the Trump administration to fund research that would promote "skepticism about the real effects of man's activities on climate." Savage cites the Vostok ice core samples in claiming that carbon dioxide doesn't cause global warming. Of course, the numbers alone do NOT tell the whole story.
Savage claims the Obama stimulus bill did not build "a single road, a single bridge, or a single tunnel," never mind that it didn't attempt to. Instead, the Congressional Budget Office found that the stimulus improved existing infrastructure: "nearly 42,000 miles of roads, repaired over 2,700 bridges, funded 12,220 transit vehicles, improved more than 3,000 water projects and provided tax cuts to 160 million American workers."
Chapter 10: Trump's War for the First Amendment
The chapter goes off to a bad start, when Trump characterizes the November 2016 anti-Trump protests as "childlike tantrums all over the world." So liberals never have any legit criticisms, it seems.
Savage calls the Center for Information Analysis and Response, authorized under the final National Defense Authorization Act signed by Obama, as a "Ministry of Truth" that will potentially go after conservative talk radio.
In a leap of inconsistency between pages, Savage first accuses Black Lives Matter of causing assaults, looting, and arson. Yet on the next page, he acknowledges "paid agents provocateurs" are behind violent acts at otherwise peaceful protests. Which is it?
Repeating a common conservative cause célèbre, Savage sides with the
Sweat Sweet Cake bakery in Oregon whose owners "politely refused to bake a wedding cake for a gay wedding." First, "polite" would be far from the best word to describe what happened, and secondly, state law forbids what they did, namely discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Chapter 11: Trump's War for the Second Amendment
Citing a source that reported on the January 2017 Fort Lauderdale airport shooting, Savage described Walid Shoebat as a "self-described former Palestinian terrorist." Shoebat's claim to fame is quite shady to begin with. Then again, Savage writes for WND, so he can't afford to be on bad graces with any of his fellow writers there.
Hilariously, the same man who repeatedly calls liberalism "a mental disorder" complains that laws that restrict gun access for people with mental disorders would be controlled by "the liberal mental health industry [that] will try to diagnose every single gun owner with some sort of mental illness."
Savage calls on the FDA and NIH to investigate if "the inappropriate prescription of [psychotropic] drugs, especially to grammar school-aged boys who are just acting like normal boys, are systematically building more Adam Lanzas."
Chapter 12: Trump's War Against the Deep State
Savage suggests what he calls the deep state is out to persecute Trump.
He expresses skepticism about the intelligence report about Russian hacking influencing the 2016 election outcome, because the unclassified report did not include enough evidence that justified the conclusion. He also questions CrowdStrike's investigation of Russian hacking of the Democratic National Committee, based on its funding from Google, whose parent company's chair is a Democratic donor.
Unfortunately, where there's smoke, there's fire, Savage.
The few good parts
Savage criticized the new Republican majority Congress for voting to weaken the Office of Congressional Ethics rather than starting legislation for Trump's agenda like tax cuts or a border wall. The OCE vote attracted much opposition from both sides of the political aisle.
Chapter two, "Trump's Economic War", praises Trump for wanting to renegotiate NAFTA and Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade deals. It also calls on Trump to fix the tax code so that multinational corporations stop paying a lower effective tax rate than required by law. Yet somehow, liberals "created the environment that corrupted the business world."
Also in that chapter, Savage criticizes Secretary of Labor nominee (who eventually withdrew on February 15, 2017, nearly a month before the book's publication, probably explaining why Puzder is called "the new secretary of labor") for opposing the minimum wage and "abolishing all regulations" (a statement that sounds exaggerated).</ref> In a statement that could easily have been written by Barbara Ehrenreich in Nickel and Dimed, Savage says: "Anyone who takes a purely academic view… should try working for minimum wage first and see if they still cling so hard to their dogmatic theories."
Devoting chapter three to Obamacare, Savage acknowledges that Trump has some "progressive biases" about health care, based on Trump's statement to Larry King 1999, "I'm very liberal when it comes to health care." The high cost of health care was a problem long before the Obama administration, writes Savage, so it's up to conservatives to make a solution before "Democrats will be back and the next time they attain power… will be [for] single-payer." Of course, Savage doesn't fail to bring up his usual fallacious slippery slope: "Imagine if the government were the 'single payer' for food. We'd all starve."
Chapter Six about the military includes an extensive analysis of the military-industrial complex, including the failed F-35 fighter jet. Chapter Seven expands further on what Savage calls "the War Machine", specifically going after the Project for a New American Century and neoconservatism (which Savage calls "liberals") and criticizing the grounds for the 2003 Iraq War.
Savage tries to tie the conservation movement to the right and even calls Theodore Roosevelt a "conservative". Theodore Roosevelt might have been a Republican, but that was in the era when the Republican Party was on the political left in America. In something you could easily more likely hear from a liberal (as much as Savage tries to deny it), Savage advocates environmentalism including opposing whaling and "very strong environmental laws", yet tries to shoehorn that unsuccessfully in his belief that the Environmental Protection Agency should be eliminated.
Regarding vaccines, Savage criticizes Trump for appointing Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. to lead a commission on vaccine safety. Savage asks why Trump would allow Kennedy in his inner circle. Well, here's your answer, Michael: multiple tweets by Trump linking vaccines and autism.
Savage tries to defend his record on vaccines in response to criticism by posting a partial transcript of his January 30, 2015 radio show where he said he believes in vaccines but "not all of them." That is the kind of equivocation that got Jill Stein in trouble. And on his radio show (but not acknowledged in this book) Savage compared vaccines to genocide on his February 4, 2015 show, the reason Savage was criticized to begin with.
- Primary source
- Savage, Michael. Trump's War: Restoring the Country After Obama. New York: Center Street Books, 2017. ISBN 978-1-4789-7667-7.
- Savage, p. 7
- Bethania Palma, "Trump Thump." Snopes: January 3, 2017. Accessed September 16, 2017.
- Savage, p. 8; citation is to Zero Hedge article "Anti-Trump Protests: Proof Of Professional Activist Involvement."
- Jervis, Rick. "Allegations of fake protests spread as anti-Trump fervor grows." USA Today: November 12, 2016. Accessed September 16, 2017.
- Savage, p. 37, citing Paul Krugman, "Build He Won't." New York Times: November 21, 2016.
- Savage, p. 41, citing Larry Getlen, "How the privatization of our oceans is sinking fishermen." New York Post: November 27, 2016.
- Savage, p. 54, citing Daniel Takash, "FDA cracks down on dietary supplements." The Hill: September 1, 2015.
- Savage, p. 55
- Savage, p. 61
- Lori Robertson, "Selling Insurance Across State Lines." FactCheck.org: July 21, 2017
- Savage, pp. 61-62
- A. J. Davidoff and R. W. Johnson, "Raising The Medicare Eligibility Age: Effects On The Young Elderly." Health Affairs, July 2003, vol. 22 no. 4 198-209
- Trump, p. 64
- Kate Connolly, "Man wrongly arrested over Berlin attack says he fears for his life." The Guardian: December 29, 2016.
- Emilio Parodi and Antonella Cinelli, "Berlin truck attack suspect shot dead by police in Italy." Reuters: December 23, 2016.
- Savage, pp. 67-68
- Savage, pp. 74-75
- Savage, p. 76
- Savage, p. 77
- Savage, p. 79
- Emily Lawler, "Enterovirus outbreak likely not coming from undocumented children, experts say." MLive: October 6, 2014.
- David Mikkelson, "Are Immigrant Kids Spreading Enterovirus (EV-D68)?" Snopes: October 13, 2014.
- Louis Jacobson, "Are illegal immigrants bringing ‘tremendous’ disease across the border, as Trump says? Unlikely." Politifact: July 23, 2015.
- Savage, pp. 84-85
- Savage, pp. 93-94
- Savage, p. 97
- Savage, p. 100
- Savage, pp. 101-102.
- Valerie Strauss, "Why the Common Core flunks on civic education." Washington Post: March 12, 2014.
- Savage, p. 104
- Savage, p. 105, citing Emily Shapiro, "Injured Professor Says Won't Judge OSU Attacker: 'I'm Going Home ... He's Dead'" ABC News: November 29, 2016
- Savage, p. 113
- David Mikkelson, "Riot Act." Snopes: September 7, 2016
- Savage, p. 114
- Savage, pp. 120-121
- "Ex-Navy Nuke Chief Timothy Giardina Guilty on Gambling Charges." NBC News: May 6, 2014.
- Steve Liewer, "DNA evidence links fired Offutt admiral to fake poker chips." Omaha World-Herald: November 22, 2014.
- Savage, pp. 122-123
- Schaefer, Agnes Gereben, Radha Iyengar, Srikanth Kadiyala, Jennifer Kavanagh, Charles C. Engel, Kayla M. Williams and Amii Kress. "Assessing the Implications of Allowing Transgender Personnel to Serve Openly." Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 2016.
- Savage, p. 127, citing Tia Ghose, "Women in Combat: Physical Differences May Mean Uphill Battle." LiveScience: December 7, 2015.
- Savage, p. 127
- Kathleen Wong, "New Physical Standards for Marine Recruits Overwhelmingly Weed Out Women." Mic: June 21, 2016.
- Savage, p. 143
- Savage, p. 137
- Savage, pp. 148-151
- Savage, pp. 158-175
- Savage, p. 166
- Savage, p. 180
- Savage, pp. 178-179
- Skeptical Science, "CO2 lags temperature - what does it mean?."
- William Ferguson, "Core Data Help Solve a Global Warming Mystery." Scientific American: March 1, 2013.
- Savage, p. 34
- Michael Grunwald, "5 Years After Stimulus, Obama Says It Worked." Time: February 16, 2014.
- Savage, p. 195
- Savage, pp. 201-202
- Savage, p. 203
- Savage, p. 204
- Savage, pp. 207-213, citing Distract the Media, "Wow! HUGE List Of Organizations Funded By Evil George Soros"
- Savage, pp. 216-217
- Savage, p. 226
- Savage, p. 229
- Savage, p. 230
- Savage, p. 238, citing New York Times article from January 6, 2017 "Putin Led a Complex Cyberattack Scheme to Aid Trump, Report Finds."
- Savage, p. 239
- Savage, pp. 10-11
- Savage, pp. 19-24
- Savage, pp. 24-26.
- Savage, p. 28
- Washington Post, Andrew Puzder withdraws labor nomination, throwing White House into more turmoil. February 15, 2017
- Savage, p. 31
- Savage, pp. 46-47.
- Savage, pp. 129-135
- Savage, pp. 145-157
- Savage, p. 181
- Kathleen Dalton, "Theodore Roosevelt: The Making of a Progressive Reformer." Gilder Lerhman Institute.
- Savage, pp. 182-186
- Savage, p. 187
- Savage, p. 191
- Savage, p. 190